Most of us who are into electronics feel the need to produce a PCB for our new project. However, if like me you cant etch at home you're limited to using strip-board. The obvious alternative, getting a prototype PCB made is both expensive and fraught with difficulties. What if you pay your money but find that your layout oscillates or the component(s) you've been using go obsolete, or you've miscalculated the mechanical parts and you cant get it to fit into your case aghhhh!
These are all too common problems that I have encountered several times over the years. The only inexpensive part of the design process is the use of the computer. Recently I decided to buy some strip-board only to find it had been discontinued by my usual supplier. This set me thinking, if I can't roll my own boards or obtain strip-board then I'd have to find another hobby, or find a better way of producing boards. In a previous life I used to design electronic kits for a well known supplier. Unfortunately he didn't like spending money on PCBs . On one kit he insisted that he couldn't afford to sell it unless I did away with the PCB. So in a fit of pique I mounted the parts on a sheet of white card. I got my commission and my client was happy. Since the 1980's, computers have become widely available and PCB design programs are freely available on the net. Eagle springs to mind for example and there are some others. So the question is can you match using a nice cheap material like card and computer graphics to produce a board? The answer is yes!
Step 1: Wiring
Reverse side of early prototype showing point to point wiring. Please go to next step.
Step 2: Materials required
Card , overlay and track prints, glue stick, scissors hammer, Paper Mache box (from 'Hobbycraft ) and or normal card, see text, push pin and large self tapping screw (not shown)